It’s cloudy and rainy, it’s Friday, and there is no school today! So we did a fun, green, process oriented kids’ art activity. We occasionally get those paper milk cartons and I hate throwing them out since I just know there is some way to repurpose them! I decided to turn them into paint scrapers. I made about 8 scrapers out of one carton – 2 scrapers per side. After I cut out the eight rectangles, I cut small triangles out of the edges to create either pointed or flat edges or a combination of both. These are reusable to a point – if they get too wet, they will start to fall apart.
Now my daughter was excited to paint! She loves painting and especially loves to squeeze and stir. I let her pick her color, squeeze the paint into the cup and stir the colors. She wanted pink, so after asking her what colors she needed to make pink, I gave them to her and let her squeeze and stir.
Then it was time to test out our new paint scrapers. I first let my daughter put a blob of paint in the center of the white paper. Now, while I wasn’t happy with the result I was focusing on the process, so I thought I had better let the process unfold. I’m happy I did because “A” discovered all on her own that she could make several small dots just by touching the paint scraper to the white paper after having dipped it in the paint.
Bear in mind that I am not suggesting that you tell your child to make little dots like these. I am simply encouraging you to allow the process unfold and provide your little ones with the opportunity to make new discoveries. Had I voiced my disappointment that the scrapers did not do exactly what I’d hoped they do, or if I had quickly jumped to the next step in the process, my daughter would have never discovered for herself that she could make a whole row of tiny dots with the edge of the scraper. She even sounded joyful as she exclaimed “Look Mommy, I made dots!”
After she had explored the above techniques, I suggested she paint the page with a brush and try a different scraper. I pointed out the different scrapers and how some had lots of pointy ends and how some had flat ends. After she painted with the paintbrush, she picked a scraper and went to work.
I wanted “A” to have more opportunities to see the scraper in action. The lines made by the scraper would be more visible if she used a darker color so she chose purple.
One of my favorite things about doing art with kids is watching how they interact via the creative process. I think my son (2) has drawn, painted a sculpted way earlier than my daughter ever did, primarily because he wants to get in on the action. He got some paint, a brush and then a scraper and did his own painting. Of course he was way more interested in the images he saw on the milk carton turned paint scraper but, hey it’s all part of the process, right!